Rich Strike was not at the Kentucky Derby when head coach Eric Reid woke up Friday morning. After an initial visit to Ethereal Road, a slot opened up for the 21st horse in the 20 thoroughbred area. And one of the longest shots on the field at 80-1 at a later time just won the 148th Kentucky Derby.
Equestrian Sonny Leon has six missions at Cincinnati’s Belterra Park on Friday and doesn’t expect a round trip through Louisville’s Churchill Downs to be part of his weekend. And now, he has earned his signature in the equestrian event. Rich Strike has the second lowest odds of a Kentucky Derby winner.
To start the race, Rich Strike was the horse furthest from the tracks. To start the final stretch, Rich Strike fell behind the leader by dozens of lengths, betting Epicenter favorites. As a duel between Zandon frontman began to occur at the head of the troupe, an inner lane for Rich Strike opened up.
In part because of the fast-paced Derby, both Zandon and Epicenter were tired as they neared the finish line. Rich Strike was caught in a pack of horses for most of the race, but there were still plenty of horses in the cart to outrun the fancy and win “Run For the Roses.”
“Nothing from this horse’s past performances suggests this is even a possibility,” NBC’s Jerry Bailey announced seconds after the conclusion.
Rich Strike will now wait two weeks to race in the second leg of the Triple Crown race, The Preakness Stakes, on May 21 from Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse. A $2 bet on Rich Strike to win the Kentucky Derby will bring bettors over $160. A Superfecta, with Simplification coming in fourth behind Epicenter and Zandon, pays out around $310,000.
“We always felt if we could get in, we would have a shot,” said Rick Dawson, owner of Rich Strike in the winners group.